EKM01 Kham Gyarong Exploration: Chengdu-Maerkang-Derge-Yarchen Gar-Danba-Chengdu 13 Days Circle Tourfrom
Highlights:Zhuokeji Chieftain’s Fortress,Yarchen Gar Monastery,Gatuo Monastery,Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House,Zhonglu Tibetan Fortress Villages,Mt. Siguniang,Wolong Shenshuping etc.
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Vacation Style Holiday TypeGuided Tours
Activity Level Moderate
Duration: 13 days 12 nights
Departure: April – December.
Route: Chengdu -75km/1hr- Dujiangyan Irrigation system -25km/50mts- Mt.Qingcheng -268km/4.5hrs- Zhuokeji Chieftain’s Fortress -11km/18mts- Barkam/Maerkang -255km/5hrs- Luhuo County -55km/1hr- Kasa Lake -148km/3hrs- Yarchen Gar -17km/22mts- Acha Village -306km/6hrs- Jinshajiang Bridg -71km/2hrs- Gatuo Monastery(4,800m) –96km/2hrs25mts- Derge Parkhang -142km/2hrs/40mts- Zhuqing Temple -80km/1hrs40mts- Queershan Tunnel -21km/21mts- Yulong La Cuo (4,040m) -12km/28mts- Manigango (4,180m) -91km/2hrs- Garze (3,440m) -273km/5hrs- Tagong Monstery (3,730m)/Muya Golden Pagoda -116km/2hrs40mts- Jiaju Tibetan Village -14km/30mts- Suopo Ancient Towers -16km/45ts- Zhonglu Tibetan Village -100km/2.5hrs- Siguniangshan town -98km/2hrs- Wolong Shengshuping Panda Center –118km/2hrs- Chengdu
*Dujiangyan Irrigation system,the oldest and only surviving no-dam irrigation system in the world
*Mt.Qingcheng – one of the birthplaces of Taoism with a history over 2000 years.
*Zhuokeji Chieftain’s Fortress, embodied the essence of all architectural art and culture of the Tibetan ethnic groups in history.
*Yarchen Gar Monastery, monastery with lineage of the Nyingma Pa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism .
*Gatuo Monastery, the “mother” of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism.
*Dege Parkhang Sutra-Printing House,the Dazzling Cultural Pearl,the Encyclopedia of Tibetan.
*Xinluhai Lake is a specific lake and one of the largest glacial moraine-dammed lake in China.
*Tagong Grassland,the most harmonious and beautiful grassland in the Tibetan plateau.
*Zhonglu Tibetan Fortress Villages, known as the most beautiful villages all over China.
*Mt. Siguniang, reputed to be the “Queen of Mountains in Sichuan” and “The Oriental Alps”.
*Wolong Shenshuping Base, also known as China Giant Panda Garden in Wolong Nature Reserve.
Unlike in TAR where tourism is strictly restricted, the Tibetan regions of old Kham are open to foreigners just like all other areas of China. Only some parts are exceptions, like Larung Gar are not open to foreign visitors. You can visit Kham with only having a Chinese visa. Kham as the “Ethnic Corridor Of Tibet”, as its vast and sparsely populated territories are inhabited by over 14 culturally and linguistically distinct ethnic groups. The Kham even has well preserved the Tibetan Culture and lifestyle. here are lots of beautiful home-stays and less restriction to travel around the villages, you can also easily interact with locals and enjoy the local lifestyle. Join us to experience the stunning landscapes, beautiful homestay, authentic Tibetan culture and lifestyle in Kham. Welcome to join us for a memorable experience in Kham.
Overview of Kham Tibetan Area:
Kham is one of the 3 main traditional regions of Tibet, along with U-Tsang and Amdo and is located in the eastern and southeastern corner of the Tibetan Plateau. Kham is a large area covering over 924,000 kilometers² (356,000 miles²). Kham is home to approximately 2 million Tibetans or 35% of the total Tibetan population. Parts of Kham lie in the eastern portion of the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR), western Sichuan, southern Qinghai and northwest Yunnan provinces.
Kham is the most geographically diverse region of Tibet. Kham, traditionally known as Chushi Gangdruk which means “4 Rivers, 6 Ranges”, contains the headwaters of many of Asia’s longest and most important rivers. The Mekong, Yangtze, Yellow and Salween rivers all begin in Kham. These rivers cut deep canyons and gorges throughout eastern Kham. There are numerous mountain ranges and high peaks throughout the area. The Kunlun Mountains (which includes the Bayan Har/Bayan Kala Range) form the far northern boundary of Kham while the far eastern extent of the Himalaya’s form the southern boundary. The rugged Hengduan Range, which includes the Daxue Mountains, are along the eastern border of Kham and mainland China. The highest peak in Kham is Minya Konka, which rises to 7556 meters. Other notable peaks in Kham are Mt. Chola, rising to 6168 meters in Dege county and Mt. Bukadaban in Drido county rising to 6860 meters.
Itinerary at a glance:
Day1: Arrive in Chengdu, transfer to hotel, check in. O/N in Chengdu
Day2: Chengdu -75km/1hr- Dujiangyan Irrigation system -25km/50mts- Mt.Qingcheng. O/N at the foot of Mt.Qingcheng
Day3: Mt.Qingcheng -268km/4.5hrs- Zhuokeji Chieftain’s Fortress -11km/18mts- Barkam/Maerkang O/N in Maerkang
Day4: Barkam/Markang -255km/5hrs- Luhuo County. O/N in Luhuo
Day5: Luhuo County -55km/1hr- Kasa Lake -148km/3hrs- Yarchen Gar -17km/22mts- Acha Village O/N in Acha Village.
Day6: Yarchen Gar -169km/3hrs45mts- Gatuo Monastery(4,800m) -60km/1hr15mts- Jinshajiang Bridg –26km/35mts- Derge O/N in Derge
Day7: Derge Exploration O/N in Derge
Day8: Derge -55km/1hr- Queershan Tunnel -21km/21mts- Yulong La Cuo (4,040m) -12km/28mts- Manigango (4,180m) -91km/2hrs- Garze (3,440m) O/N in Ganze
Day9: Garze -273km/5hrs- Tagong Monstery (3,730m)/Muya Golden Pagoda -116km/2hrs40mts- Danba O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
Day10: Zhonglu Tibetan Village -16km/45mts- Suopo Ancient Towers -16km/45ts- Zhonglu Tibetan Village (2,200m) O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
Day11: Zhonglu Tibetan Village -100km/2.5hrs- Mt. Siguniang O/N in Siguniangshan town
Day12: Siguniangshan town -98km/2hrs- Wolong Shengshuping Panda Center –118km/2hrs- Chengdu O/N in Chengdu.
Day 13: Drop off to Chengdu airport, service end !
Arrive in Chengdu, transfer to hotel, check in. O/N in Chengdu
Be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. If time permits, visit the Kuanxiangzi (wide lane) and Zhaixiangzi (narrow lane), it used to be home to officials in the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties and are among the city’s cultural heritage sites still intact today. Originally, single-story houses and courtyards featured the specialty of the area. To relive the taste of local life years ago, tea houses and folk arts are readily found in the area while displays of the lifestyle, dialects, food and customs of Chengdu in the past will be reinstated in museums. As an option in the evening(200CNY extra), enjoy a wonderful variety show of Face changing and Flame Spitting Out of Sichuan Opera.
Chengdu -75km/1hr- Dujiangyan Irrigation system -25km/50mts- Mt.Qingcheng. O/N at the foot of Mt.Qingcheng
Dujiangyan Irrigation system is one of the world first irrigation systems and ratified into the World Cultural Heritage list. It`s located on the upper reaches of the Minjiang River. It was built between 306-251 BC. by the local people under the guidance of Libing and his son. Fortunately the Dujiangyan Irrigation system brings the vast Chengdu Plain under irrigation and has protected it against droughts and floods for over 2,300 years. Because of this Chengdu Plain has turned into the land of abundance with a mild climate and fertile soil.
Mt.Qingcheng ratified as Cultural Heritage by UNESCO is the headstream of Chinese Taoism. the initiator of Taoism, Zhang Taolin in the end of East Han Dynasty, came to Qingcheng Mountain to instruct Taoism from Shanxi. there still go round supernatural stories describing how he fight hard with devils, how the ”Brush Pen Groove” and the ” Three Island Stone” formed. After Taoist master Zhang Daoling passed away, Qingcheng Mountain also became prosperous as the headstream of Taoism, original Mountain of Taoist Master.
Mt.Qingcheng -268km/4.5hrs- Zhuokeji Chieftain’s Fortress -11km/18mts- Barkam/Maerkang O/N in Maerkang
After breakfast, drive to Maerkang via Dujiangyan. Maerkan, which in Tibetan means “The Place Lightened by Butter Lamps”, is the prefectural capital of Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, sometimes known as Barkham. On the way, we will visit Zhuokeji Chieftain’s Fortress. The Zhuokeji Chieftain’s Fortress (Zhuokeji Tusi Guanzhai), at an altitude of 2700 meters above the sea level is located in Zhuokeji Town, 7 km east of Maerkang County. The well-proportioned fortress is surrounded by hills, echoing the rowing Tibetan houses. The village covers an area of 5,400 square meters, with the main building (the chieftain’s residence) built as a six story manor surrounding a central courtyard. This building has 63 rooms, with each room presenting an aspect of Tibetan lifestyle during the chieftains’ time. The courtyard and outside stairs are made of stone, and the building is a mix between a stone walled outer shell, and a wooden interior. The carving, painting, and character in this building is wonderful, and it is little wonder that it has been turned into a museum. The village was destroyed by fire in 1936. However, the 16th chieftain rebuilt the village in 1938 at the original site. The Chieftain’s Fortress has embodied the essence of all architectural art and culture of the Tibetan ethnic groups in history.
Barkam/Markang -255km/5hrs- Luhuo County. O/N in Luhuo
After breakfast, visit Sichuan ‘Tower of Pisa’–Towering over houses, the 43-meter-high twin towers were built in Qing Dynasty to keep an eye and offer shelter during wars. The cube-shaped stone structure has withstood several earthquakes. Thereafter, set out to Luhuo County (Tibetan: Draggo Zong) at north-central of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. Luhuo County is located in the interlacing area of the West Sichuan Plateau and the mountainous region. In Luhuo, we will visit Shouling Temple, or Drango Monastery. It is a famous monastery of the Gelugpa sect of the Tibetan Buddhism. Drango means ‘wishing longevity and safe’ in Tibetan language. The monastery was founded in 1650, had experienced three times relocation. Now the monastery has a construction area of 14,000 square meters, including a main hall, an auspicious temple, and some 277 halls and monk chambers. Shouling monastery has a long history and rich in cultural relics. The main hall where enshrines a 3-meter silver Sakyamuni Buddha statue. There is a gold plated copper Buddha which was taken back from India in 1995. The monastery also enshrines many precious scriptures, religious cards and lifelike murals.
Luhuo County -55km/1hr- Kasa Lake -148km/3hrs- Yarchen Gar -17km/22mts- Acha Village O/N in Acha Village.
After breakfast, drive to Kasa Lake and Yarchen Gar. Kasa Lake is a typical plateau fresh water lake lying in the west of Luhuo County and 3,510m above sea level. It is a locally well-known sacred lake. Kasa Lake is the largest habitat of water birds in the northwest Sichuan. Kasa Lake Scenic Area boosts unique views, mirror-like water and its elegance and spectacularity. The mountains are covered with natural alpine meadows as well as herds of yaks and sheep wandering at ease. Yachen Gar (Yachen Orgyen Meditation Monastery) is located 4,000m above sea level, in an isolated valley in Baiyu County. Yachen Gar, being one of the many Nyingma Sect monastery in China, was established in 1985, is one the larger concentration of nuns and monks in the world.
Yarchen Gar -169km/3hrs45mts- Gatuo Monastery(4,800m) -60km/1hr15mts- Jinshajiang Bridg –26km/35mts- Derge O/N in Derge
After breakfast, depart to Derge. The Kingdom of Derge was an important kingdom in Kham from the 15th to the 19th century. It was a centre of industry, religion and politics, with the seat of its kingdom in the town of Dege. You will pass by Jinshajiang Bridge on the way. Jinshajiang Bridge connect Sichuan and Tibet for Chamdo. Gatuo monastery at elevation 4,800m, is located on the mountain top in Hepo village, at the eastern bank of Jinshajiang River, between Derge and Baiyu County. Gatuo monastery is the first Nyingmapa monastery built in Kham area, its affiliated monasteries are rampant in Amdo and Kham area, even in Nepal, India and other western countries have its affiliates, enjoying high reputation and respect.
Derge Exploration O/N in Derge
Visit Derge Parkhang. Derge Parkhang, built in the 7th year of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty is one of the foremost cultural treasures of Tibet. It is located in in Dege County on the east bank of the Jinshajiang River. It is a living institution devoted to the printing and preservation of Tibetan literature, a printing temple that holds the greatest number of Tibetan woodblocks in the world. In the house are kept more than 200000 blocks of religious, historical, literature and art, medical, astronomical and calendar-arithmetical book editions in Tibetan, of which the Dege block edition of The Great Scriptures cut in the Qing Dynasty is expectably well-known. The Printing house is the largest of the three big Sutra-printing houses in the Tibetan regions of China (Lhasa Sutra-printing House in Tibet, Lhapuleng House in Gansu and Dege Parkhang in Sichuan). Zhuqing Temple, built in 1685 AD, is one of the six major Buddhist temples of the Nyingma School. It is located in the northern part of Dege County.
Derge -55km/1hr- Queershan Tunnel -21km/21mts- Yulong La Cuo (4,040m) -12km/28mts- Manigango (4,180m) -91km/2hrs- Garze (3,440m) O/N in Ganze
Continue drive to Garze via Queershan Tunnel and Manigango. Queershan Tunnel is said to be one of the world’s highest road tunnel at an average altitude of 4.378m above the sea level. Queershan Pass was an important link across the mountains, connecting Dege and central Tibet. Yilhun Lhatso, also known as Xinluhai or Yulong Lake, is a stunning, holy alpine lake. The lake is backed by the huge glaciers. The stunning alpine lake is said to provide meditation opportunities for those who wish to achieve enlightenment. Yilhun Lhatso Lake is a protected nature reserve, is a holy lake. On the shores of this lake one can find dozens of religious, carved prayer stones.
Garze -273km/5hrs- Tagong Monstery (3,730m)/Muya Golden Pagoda -116km/2hrs40mts- Danba O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
After leaving Garze, the road turns south to Tagong. Along the way to Tagong, you will be totally feast on the peaceful and fantastic landscapes. Tagong (Lhagang) meaning ’favourite place of bodhisattva’ in the local language, is a small town in Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of western Sichuan. Tagong Temple has a history of more than 1,000 years. It is said to be constructed by Princess Wencheng during Tang Dynasty. It enjoys an important and outstanding role in Kangba Area and is one of the main monastery where Tibetan Buddhist do their worships and pilgrimages. There are the sacred Yala Snow Mountain surrounding it. Muya Golden Pagoda is also called Yazheng Pagoda, located at the foot of Yala Mountain. The pagoda was for commemorating the tenth Panchan Lama. Afterwards, drive to Danba, a legendary place with plenty of beautiful scenery which is famous of ‘Country of Women’. Danba is also the “East Female Country” in history. Danba Tibetan Villages, a retreat from the world, are known as the most beautiful villages all over China, it is the hometown of Jiarong Tibetans in Sichuan Province.
Zhonglu Tibetan Village -16km/45mts- Suopo Ancient Towers -16km/45ts- Zhonglu Tibetan Village (2,200m) O/N in Zhonglu Tibetan Village
Wake up early and you may take a walk around at Jiaju Tibetan Village for peace of mind. You may also discover Tibetan culture and life. Afterwards, set out to visit Suopo Ancient Towers. Suopo has 84 ancient watchtowers remained, are the most concentration of watchtowers in the world. The exteriors are built with stone to make them as solid as they could be, while the inside facilities are mostly made of wood. These watchtowers have angular shape and slip walls with wide bottoms and narrow tops in the height ranging from 20 meters to 60 meters. Watchtowers were originally constructed to watch out threatens and attacks from the outside world. Some were built to store valuable goods, or were used as a place of worship. Zhonglu Tibetan Village has an altitude of 2,200 m, is located in Danba County. Zhonglu in Tibetan means worship place together of human and God. Zhonglu Tibetan village has many attractions such as historic watchtowers and many local houses of Tibetan residents. Stay overnight at Zhonglu Tibetan village.
Zhonglu Tibetan Village -100km/2.5hrs- Mt. Siguniang O/N in Siguniangshan town
Drive to Mt. Siguniang, hiking in Changping Valley, the best of the three big valleys, namely Shuangqiao Valley, Changping Valley and Haizi Valley; as Shuangqiao Valley is possible to visit mostly by sightseeing bus with some good hiking trails, Changping Valley and Haizi Valley are suitable for enthusiastic hikers, both valleys take one full day to explore by foot, horse-riding service (self-paid) is available throughout those two valleys also. Bring yourself with some water and snack on the way because there is no restaurant inside the valleys. If you choose hiking, today must be a tiring day, but the amazing sceneries on the way definitely pay off at end of the day. Most tourists praise that those 3 valleys plus the peaks compose the most beautiful picture s in western Sichuan.
Day12: Siguniangshan town -98km/2hrs- Wolong Shengshuping Panda Center -118km/2hrs- Chengdu O/N in Chengdu.
After breakfast, we will retrace back to Chengdu via Maobiling Ridge, a place where we could enjoy the full view of the Mount Siguniang. Continue drive to Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base is also known as China Giant Panda Garden. The base is highly simulated to Giant Panda’s habitat hidden deep into mountains. Wolong Shenshuping Panda Base (China Giant Panda Garden), a research center newly constructed after Wenchuan Earthquake, is about 22 kilometers from the former site – Wolong Hetaoping Base and covers a total construction area of nearly 20,000 square meters, about 20 times the area of Hetaoping Base. This project is supported by Hong Kong SAR Government and designed according to Green Samsung standards. From the perspective of appearance, the open and spacious base is like a villa in Tibetan and Qiang minority style, which allows a large activity space for pandas. Afterwards drive to back to Chengdu.
Drop off to Chengdu airport, service end !